The Philadelphia Eagles mastered the art of the quarterback sneak this season by exploiting the rule that allows players to push a ball carrier forward. It sounds like Sean Payton is going to bring that same strategy with him to Denver and exploit it as much as possible.
At least until the NFL changes the rule.
NFL rules expert Dean Blandino said in an interview with The33rdteam.com that Payton told him the Broncos were going to utilize that play in every short-yardage situation if the league does not change the rule.
That means Russell Wilson better get used to the idea of getting shoved into a pile of humanity in short-yardage situations.
The question is going to be whether or not the league changes the rule.
And Blandino thinks that might end up being the case because it does not exhibit the sort of skill and talent the NFL wants to highlight.
“It amounts to a rugby scrum,” Blandino told The33rdteam. “The NFL wants to showcase the athleticism and skill of our athletes. This is just not a skillful play. This is just a tactic that is not an aesthetically pleasing play, and I think the competition committee is going to take a look at it.’’
Blandino believes the NFL’s competition committee would suggest a complete ban on pushing any runners forward.
Assisting runners by pushing them forward was technically against the rules until 2005, but officials pretty much stopped enforcing it and the rule was eventually changed. It several years, but the Eagles were the first team to truly embrace it make it a significant part of their short-yardage strategy. It has become so unstoppable that the NFL might actually have to outlaw it.
There is also a player safety element to it as a quarterback (or any ball carrier) being aggressively pushed and shoved from two different directions at the same time could present some additional injury risk.
For now the NFL still allows it. And if that continues expect Payton and other head coaches around the league to exploit it because the NFL is the ultimate copycat league. Just do not be surprised if the NFL does something no defense has been able to do and puts a stop to it.